Chase Utley to Return to the Phillies Friday
Utley remains a very possible August trade candidate, but must show that he is fully healthy from his nagging ankle injury that has had him on the shelf since June 22. Secondly, he must show he is better than the .179, four homer and 25 RBI guy he was prior to injury.
"His trade market might be close to zero at this point." ESPN.com MLB insider Keith Law said on the Sports Bash. "Given his age, injuries and recent non-performance. But at that point you don't just release the guy"
If he is healthy and he can perform well in his return, there's a chance he could be dealt to a contender in a waiver deal before the end of the month. Utley went 6-for-11 (.545) with a double and two walks over three minor league rehab games between Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
It appears that it is too late for him to reach enough plate appearances to trigger his vesting option for next season, making it the Phillies decision whether to pick him up at $15 million or instead pay a $2 million buyout.
"They'd be better off trading him," Law said. "But that was true from the day he signed the extension.
(Listen to ESPN MLB insider Keith Law discuss the Phillies moving forward after the Cole Hamels trade)